Category Archives: Bird Race

The 35th Singapore Bird Race (2019)

by Geoff Lim, Morten Strange, Tan Gim Cheong & Lim Kim Chuah. Photos by Francis Chia.

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The 35th Singapore Bird Race, which took place from 16-17 November 2019, attracted more than 130 participants who formed 43 teams – a record number. The participants included more than 60 students from Primary and Secondary Schools. The number of teams for the various categories were as follows: eight for Primary School, nine for Secondary School, five for Marathon, ten for Sprint, and 11 for Photographers.

The first ever race took place in 1984, and is today, one of the longest running citizen science events in South-east Asia. A key objective of the race is to promote the appreciation of birds and biodiversity to the public. It also brings people from different walks of life together, and get them to go outdoors to look at birds and nature.

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Participants of the School category – 35th Singapore Bird Race, @ MBC.

The Marathoners kicked off their gruelling 20-hour race at 4:30pm on 16 November 2019, while the race for the Sprint and Photographer categories was flagged off at 7:30am on 17 November 2019, followed by the School category at 8am, at Mapletree Business City.

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Participants of the Sprint and Photographer categories – 35th Singapore Bird Race, @ MBC.

Highlights for the School category

The school teams were confined to race in parks close to the vicinity of Mapletree Business City. The parks included HortPark, West Coast Park, Kent Ridge Park and Mount Faber Park. And unlike previous years, some calls were allowed this year so as to encourage more birders to take an interest in bird calls. The winner of the primary school category, Yumin Champs One recorded a respectable score of 20 species while the winner of the secondary school category, Goated-Spotters from Dunman Secondary School topped the category with a score of 35 species. The students had plenty of fun along the way and for many of them, this was the first time they were visiting these parks. Also, for most of them, it was also their first time seeing interesting species such as Oriental Pied Hornbill, the globally endangered Straw-headed Bulbul (pictured on the event T-shirt and allowed to be recorded by call), our delightful ‘little red dot’ unofficial national bird the Crimson Sunbird and many raptors, including the migratory Japanese Sparrowhawk.   

Champions of the School (Primary) sub-category

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Champions of the School (Primary) sub-category – Yumin Champs One (Yumin Primary School) with Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments.

School – Primary (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Yumin Champs One (Yumin Primary School) 20
2nd Top Wing (Teck Whye Primary School) 18
3rd Yumin Champs A (Yumin Primary School) 17

Champions of the School (Secondary) sub-category

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Champions of the School (Secondary) sub-category – Goated Spotters (Dunman Secondary School) with Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments

School – Secondary (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Goated-Spotters (Dunman Secondary School) 35
2nd Hwa Chong Hornbills (Hwa Chong Institution (Sec)) 33
3rd ISS Laughing Thrush (ISS International School (Sec)) 26

Highlights for the Marathon, Sprint and Photographer categories

The teams turned out a great set of results, including one team that exceeded 100 species of birds in a relatively short 20-hour period. There were also many close fights with placings determined by teams having just one more species than the next team. Indeed, the champions for the Sprint category edged pass the 1st runner-ups by just one species! The 1st runner-ups in the Marathon category also edged pass the 2nd runner-ups by one species. And the two teams in the Marathon category who tied for 4th place also lost to the 2nd runner-ups by just one species. The defending champions of the Photographer category were so well ahead of the pack that they were pretty close to the top three placings for the Sprint category, amazing.

Best bird of the race is arguably a rare Grey-headed Lapwing at Turut Track, spotted and photographed by a few lucky teams. The critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul was recorded at the Kranji Marshes, Neo Tiew Woods, Gillman Barracks area, and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR). Dairy Farm Nature Park turned out to be a hotspot for uncommon birds such as the Jambu Fruit Dove, Greater Green Leafbird, Cinerous Bulbul, Blue-rumped Parrot, Red-crowned Barbet, Eye-browed Thrush and Siberian Thrush. Another rare bird recorded during the race was the Lesser Adjutant at SBWR.

Champions of the Marathon category

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Champions of the Marathon category – The Weekend Birders, with Mr Lim Kim Chuah, Chairman of NSS Bird Group.

Marathon Category 

Position Team Species
1st Weekend Birders 121
2nd Birds are Reptiles 93
3rd dododo 92
4th Tied – Drongoes & dududu 91

Champions of the Sprint category

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Champions of the Sprint category – Team Darters.

Sprint Category (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Team Darters 73
2nd CN Swiftlet 72
3rd NParks 68

Champions of the Photographer category

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Champions of the Photographer category – Where Where Where? with Mr Lucas of Leica and Dr Shawn Lum, President of NSS.

Photographer Category (top 3 placings)

Position Team Species
1st Where Where Where? 61
2nd Eurasian Birders 34
3rd Team Falcon 31


This year, we are privileged to have Mapletree Investments as our main sponsor. It is through the generous contribution of Mapletree that we were able to enable more schools to  participate in the bird race. This is especially important as the young are Singapore’s next generation who will inherit the natural heritage we leave behind.

Thanks also to other sponsors – Leica, Swarovski Optik, PUB, NParks, John Beaufoy Publishing and Wild Vigil Networks. Thanks to co-organiser Birdlife International, and thanks to the organising committee and all volunteers (logistics, guiding, arbitrating, etc.) helping to make the bird race a success. Also, a big thank you to all the participants for making this year’s bird race the biggest ever. Special thanks to the following schools for their support: Juying Primary School, Singapore Chinese Girls School (Pri & Sec), Teck Whye Primary School, West Grove Primary School, Yumin Primary School, Dunman Secondary School, Hwa Chong Institution (Sec), ISS International School (Sec), and Unity Secondary School.

Thanks to Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree Investments, for gracing the event as the Guest-of-Honour. Thanks also to Mr Wan Kwong Weng, Group Chief Corporate Officer for Mapletree; Mr Kenneth Er, CEO of NParks; Dr Shawn Lum, President of NSS; and Mr Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Regional Director (Asia), Birdlife International, for their presence during the award ceremony held at the end of the day at Mapletree Business Centre.

34th Singapore Bird Race with “Wings of Johor”

34th Singapore Bird Race with “Wings of Johor” by Belinda Wong.

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I am surprised to see at least 14 tagged Common Redshanks in this group.

This year’s Singapore Bird race has an additional category of “Best Bird Photo’ contest offered by main sponsor Sony Singapore.  A Sony RX10 Mark IV awaits the best photo.  The catch is the photo must be captured by a Sony RX10 Mark IV camera.  So for that we drove over to Sungei Buloh Visitor Centre (SBVC) Singapore for a brief camera familiarization on 10th November 2018, a day before the race. The Sony RX10M4 is a really amazing camera from what we learnt during the short training with lots of amazing features.

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Just loved how the Common Redshank is reflected in the water.

Our friend, YK Han had kindly offered to show us around the known birding spots around Sungei Buloh and Kranji areas before the training in the afternoon.  My team mate, Lai Peng and I gladly accepted the opportunity as we were unsure how to move around the area.  Last year we had taken part for the first time, also in the “photography category” and we found ourselves getting lost a few times, losing lots of precious time trying to find our way to and from Sg. Buloh and Kranji Marshes.


Lesser Coucals are normally difficult to spot, glad I got a decent shot.

The next morning, 11th November 2018, we were all geared up for the actual day of the race.  As we had to register by 7.00am and flag off at 7.30am, we aimed to reach SBVC by 6.30am just to be on the safe side.  For this I was up by 4.30am, had a quick breakfast at home and picked up Lai Peng at around 5.30am.  There was no jam at the Causeway as it was really early and we reached SBVC just before 6.30am.  I thought we were the first to arrive but there were already quite a few people before us, probably the race organisers.

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Little Egret looking so elegant walking across the water.

We registered ourselves and were pleasantly surprised we were given a nice grey race tee-shirt.  After a short briefing by Lim Kim Chuah, the race was flagged off at 7.30am sharp.

We birded at the SBVC till about 8.15am and did not regret it as we ticked off 21 species here, including 2 cuckoos – a Drongo Cuckoo and a Little Bronze Cuckoo.   After that, we headed off to Neo Tiew, Turut Track and Kranji areas. First bird we had was the Long-tailed Shrike which I only managed to get one shot of it – taking off……phew.  It almost got away.

We birded around the area and decided to make a rush to Kranji for a very quick walk up to the watch tower to try to get some raptors, and also that Scaly-breasted Munia which we hoped to get since it was building a nest the day before.  It was already getting very late, almost 10.00am and it was a really long walk in. After checking off the Dark-morph Changeable Hawk-eagle, and as it was really quiet with hardly any birds at this time of the day, we decided to move off to SBWR even though the scaly-breasted did not show up. We were hoping for the Black-naped Oriole but even that was not there.  As we reached the exit, I was lucky to get a shot of the Ashy Minivet.  We then quickly left for SBWR to look for our waders.

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One of the two Brahminy Kites that looked like they may be building a nest.

It was already past 11.00am when we finally reached SBWR and started chasing after the crows for a shot of them at the car park (can’t believe I was chasing for shots of crows !).  We stayed for about 15 minutes at SBWR and got all the usual wader suspects. As we reached the exit, I looked up to see 2 smallish birds on a bare branch some distance away and quickly took a shot.  I thought they were Lineated Barbets but was really excited when upon closer look they were Coppersmiths.


Juvenile Oriental Honey Buzzard dark morph flying over Kranji Marshes.

Soon it was already 11.30am and we quickly rushed back to SBVC.  We had planned to reach SBVC by 11.30am but we were running a little late.  We had learned from last year’s experiences that we need at least an hour to sort out the photos, unlike last year when we gave ourselves only 30 minutes.

After parking the car, we rushed in to try to find a spot to plug in our lap-tops and realised, to my horror, that I was using CF card for my photographs. Our laptops do not have slots to read CF cards and I had forgotten to bring my card reader!

After asking around to see who has a card-reader, I finally decided to check with Han, who was actually so busy himself trying to sort out his team’s photos with his partner Francis.  As luck would have it, he did have a card reader. Thank you Han!

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The waders are so well camouflaged at the ponds at SBWR

Then we realised we had another problem – the image number I see from the camera is different from the image viewed on the computer.  Luckily I had learned from our mistakes from last year – i.e. delete unwanted photos straight from the camera.  Thus I did not have too many photos to go through.  We managed to complete and handed in our paper and SD card, with only 1 minute to spare!  Phew! That was so stressful!  We will have to be better prepared if we do come back next year to avoid the stress!

We were delighted and surprised to walk away as second runners up with 44 species. The book prizes were much appreciated.


Receiving our prizes from GOH Professor Leo Tan.

We would like to congratulate NSS Bird Group for a very well organised and successful event and also to Sony for their generosity in sponsoring 3 awesome cameras as prizes.  Well done guys!



34th Singapore Bird Race Winners

The 34th edition of the Singapore Bird Race 2018 ended on a high with three teams walking away with a priced Sony RX10M4 camera each. This is also the first time we have a “Best Photo Contest” for the photography teams using the on-loan Sony RX10M4. We would to thank Sony Singapore for their sponsorship and generous donation.

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Tuck Loong and Sia Ping’s winning photo of the Blue-winged Pitta with kind permission from Sony Singapore. 

Team Alpha Dynamic led by Kwok Tuck Loong with Tay Sia Ping took the initiative to go all the way to the Chinese Gardens to shoot the colorful Blue-winged Pitta at its well known hideout. The image wowed the judges, clinched the “best photo” contest and won them a Sony RX10M4 camera. Congrats to Tuck Loong and Sia Ping.


Beaming Tuck Loong and Sia Ping receiving the Sony RX10M4 from Rubin Zheng, Product Manager (Singapore) Digital Still Camera. Sony Singapore. Photo Yap Wee Jin.

Team Terns led by veteran birder and former Bird Group Chairperson Lim Kim Keang with Alfred Chia and Tan JuLin pipped the Lau family team Drongoes by one species to win the Birders Category. They returned with 78 species and lugged home a Sony RX10M4 as well. They got the last two species just as they were on the way back to hand in their scores. Congratulations to Team Terns!

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The “Terns” – Champions for the Birder Category with Guest of Honour Professor Leo Tan. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

It was no contest in the photography category when the sharpshooters team “In the Tree” led by Goh Cheng Teng with Lester Tan came back with 55 photos of different species. They were also winners of last year’s photography category. Congratulations to Cheng Teng and Lester who were all smiles hugging the new Sony RX10M4.

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Team “In The Tree” – Champions for the Photography Category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

A total of 31 teams took part in this year’s race, the highest to date. We are heartened by the turn out of 9 teams from 4 schools when we opened up this year’s race to both primary and secondary students. The excitement and smiles on their faces when they received their prices were reward enough for the organisers. Many thanks to Minister Desmond Lee for the donation of the Schools Champions trophy and Challenged Shield which went to team ‘Unity 1″ from Unity Secondary with an impressive 36 species.

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Team Unity 1 – Champions for the Schools (Sec) Category being presented the Challenge Shield by GOH Joseph Koh. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

Team Eagles from Shuqun Primary came back with a score of 32 species to win the Primary Schools category. We wish to thank John Beaufoy Publishing Company for the book prizes for the schools teams.

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We also wish to thank our partners Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for the use of the venue, Friend of Buloh, Birdlife International, East Asia Australasia Flyway Partnership, PUB and Nature Photography Society of Singapore for their support.

See you all again next year!


34th Singapore Bird Race (2018) – Arbitrator’s Report

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The 34th Singapore Bird Race, held on 11 November 2018, saw the participation of 31 teams across three categories, including the first ever ‘School’ category. Some of the participants also took part in the inaugural Best Picture Contest.

Category Number of Teams
School 9
Photographer 10
Birder 12

School Category – Top 3 Teams

For this category, the enthusiastic students lead by volunteer guides, scoured the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, recording good numbers of species, most of which were ‘lifers’ (first time seeing a species of bird) for the students.

There were four primary school teams, two each from Shuqun Primary and Yumin Primary. The Eagles (Shuqun Primary) led the pack with 32 species. Team Champs A (Yumin Primary) was a very close second with 31 species, just 1 species behind. And the Vultures (Shuqun Primary) took the third place with 24 species.

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The “Eagles” (Shuqun Primary) – Champions for the Schools (Pri) Category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

For secondary schools, there were four teams from Unity Secondary and one team from Chung Cheng High (Main). Again,  it was a close fight between the top two places. Unity 1 came in tops with 36 species, closely followed by Team Cool & Mysterious (Unity Secondary) with 35 species.  Team CCHM came in third with 32 species. As it turned out, there were winning teams from all the schools, congrats.

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Team “Unity 1” – Champions for the Schools (Sec) Category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

Photography Category – Top 3 Teams

Ten teams took part in this category. Team In the Tree (Goh Cheng Teng & Lester Tan) topped the Photography category with 55 species caught on camera, successfully defending their title from last year. Team Alpha Dynamo (Kwok Tuck Loong & Tay Sia Ping) came in 2nd with 45 species. Right behind them was Wings of Johor (Belinda Wong & Chiang Lai Peng) with 44 species, another close fight! Great work.

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Team “In The Tree” – Champions for the Photography Category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

Birder Category – Top 3 Teams

To minimise time spent travelling, most of the birder teams limited themselves to the Kranji-Sungei  Buloh areas. The Terns (Lim Kim Keang, Alfred Chia & Tan Ju Lin) turned in an amazing 78 species to clinch the top prize, successfully defending their title. Hot on their heels were the Drongoes (Danny Lau, Lau Jiasheng & Ang Bao Jun) who managed 77 species, just 1 species behind – another close fight. The Falconets (Benjamin Lee, Max Khoo & Bryan Lee) finished 3rd with 73 species. Well done.

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The “Terns” – Champions for the Birder Category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

Best Picture with SONY RX10IV – Winner

Out of the ten best photos shortlisted from all the entries, Kwok Tuck Loong’s photo of a Blue-winged Pitta emerged as the winner of the Best Picture Contest.

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Kwok Tuck Loong – Winner of the Best Photo Contest with his winning image. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

Race highlights

Interesting species recorded during the race included a juvenile Pied Harrier, a rare migrant, in flight, near the Visitor Centre; a Stejneger’s Stonechat, another rare migrant, at Harvest Link; Blue-eared Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes; a Drongo Cuckoo that showed well near the Visitor Centre; Red-throated Pipit at Harvest Link; Black-capped Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes; Wood Sandpiper at Lim Chu Kang Lane 3; Black Drongo at Turut Track and the globally threatened Straw-headed Bulbul at Kranji Nature Trail.

Thanks to the panel of arbitrators for generating the results so quickly.

Tan Gim Cheong
Lead Arbitrator, 34th Singapore Bird Race

Bird Race Results

Position School Category (Primary) Score
1st Eagles – Shuqun Primary 32
2nd Champs A – Yumin Primary 31
3rd Vultures – Shuqun Primary 24
4th Champs One – Yumin Primary 21


Position School Category (Secondary) Score
1st Unity 1  – Unity Secondary 36
2nd Team Cool & Mysterious – Unity Secondary 35
3rd Team CCHM – Chung Cheng High (Main) 32
4th Unity 2 – Unity Secondary 31
5th Unity 3 – Unity Secondary 26
Position Photography Category Score
1st In the Tree 55
2nd Alpha Dynamo 45
3rd Wings of Johor 44
4th Skylark 43
5th Whimbrel 37
6th Jiak Hong Shooters 36
7th The JJ 25
8th Bird Seekers 24
9th Raptor 11
10th Pitta Pan
Position Birder Category Score
1st Terns 78
2nd Drongoes 77
3rd Falconets 73
4th King Albird Park 68
5th Distracted Novices 62
6th Pipipi 62
7th Friends of Buloh 61
8th Beebeebee 60
9th The Latebirds 58
10th Bibibi 54
11th The Nobirdies 50
12th Serendipity 27

The 34th Singapore Bird Race (2018) – Chairman’s Message

by Lim Kim Chuah 

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Participants of the inaugural School category. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

The 34th Singapore Bird Race took place on Sunday, 11 November 2018 at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. This year’s race saw 31 teams competing in three categories – Birder, Photographer and the first ever School category.

9 teams from 4 schools competed for the coveted championship trophy and shield donated by Minister Desmond Lee.

Also for the very first time, a Best Picture Contest was organized. This was made possible by the generous contributions from our main sponsor, Sony. Sony loaned out their RX10M4 to all participants who wanted to compete in this category.

This year’s race was organized in partnership with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Friends of Buloh, Birdlife International, East Asia Australian Flyway Partnership, Nature Photographic Society Singapore and PUB.

A BIG thank you to main sponsor Sony, venue sponsor Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and other sponsors including Swarovski, Vortex and John Beaufoy Publishing.

And another HUGE thank you to all volunteers for making this event possible.

Also many thanks to all participants for your support in making this another successful Singapore Bird Race and congratulations to all prize winners.

Stay tuned for the results to be published soon.

Lim Kim Chuah
Chairman, Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group

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Participants of the Birder & Photographer categories. Photo by Yap Wee Jin.

31st Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2018.

31st Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2018

The 31st Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race took place over the weekend of 31 March to 1 April 2018. It was flagged off at 1pm on Saturday and ended at 12pm on Sunday.

After a two-year absence (we last participated in the 28th Fraser’s Hill Bird Race in 2015 where we came in tops with 75 species then), my “Piculets” team-mates, Kim Keang and Ju Lin suggested we take part again this year. My wife, Bee Lan, came along as a supporting cast.

We left on 29 March and flew AirAsia into Kuala Lumpur International Airport where we picked up our rental car from Galaxy Cars – a quite new 2-litre Toyota Innova. After a good lunch break at Kuala Kubu Baru, we arrived at Silverpark in Fraser’s Hill at about 2pm. This was our Airbnb accommodation for the duration of our stay until Sunday – a clean and nicely furnished 3-bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchen and a balcony that overlooked a valley.

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Over the remainder of the afternoon and the whole of Friday, we did our recce and birded the hill station, explored Hemmant Trail and parts of Bishop’s Trail, spending about an hour here observing a nesting Long-tailed Broadbill, which was still bringing in nesting material to her almost-completed nest that hung from the end of a spiky rattan vine. In close attendance were also a pair of the diminutive Little Pied Flycatchers bringing their own nesting material into the broadbill’s nest! This however will be the subject of another write-up that I will be writing in due course.

After a short opening ceremony on Saturday, the 54 teams from three categories, namely Student, Novice and Advanced, were flagged off. This year’s race came with a cardinal change in the rules – no form of motorised vehicles were allowed. Each team will have to bird from Point A to Point B on foot! If you are familiar with this hill station, this essentially means that planning is of utmost importance. Many places will have to be missed due to their distance from Fraser’s Hill. It will not be practical to bird at the bottom part of the Gap Road or the “New Road”. Walking the entire loop of Telecom Loop may not be advisable while walking all the way to Jeriau Waterfall may not be a good option either. Time is of the essence and returns are important for the effort that is to be expended.

The Piculets took the decision after the flag-off to walk Hemmant Trail in its entirety from its trail-head near the mosque. This was a good decision as we emerged at the other end of the trail near Lady Maxwell Road with 10 species. Lady Maxwell Road itself was also birdy and we came off with another six species within 15 minutes.

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Orange-bellied Leafbird

Our plan was to head towards the “New Road” quickly and start birding downwards to as far as time and light allowed. The “New Road” is lower in elevation and a different set of birds can be expected. We turned in a respectable 27 species from here. Some special birds that were seen along this road but not easily found up in Fraser’s Hill were Blue-eared and Brown Barbets, Blue-winged and Lesser Green Leafbirds, Little and Grey-breasted Spiderhunters, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, White-bellied Erpornis, White-rumped Shama, Sultan Tit, Black-and-yellow and Silver-breasted Broadbills, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Grey-throated Babbler. Migrants like Mugimaki and Asian Brown Flycatchers as well as Yellow-browed Warbler were also encountered. By the time we reached Silver Park, it was already 7.15pm and dark. Our Day One score of 61 species was good and although tired, we were satisfied.

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Green Magpie

Day Two plan was to visit Hemmant Trail at first light to try to see the Lesser Shortwing and Orange-headed Thrush. Both were seen by Kim Keang when he visited on Saturday morning before the race proper. We reached the trail-head at Lady Maxwell Road but it was still dark and impractical to set foot on the trail. We rested opposite the trail-head and suddenly Ju Lin spotted the Orange-headed Thrush hopping just behind Kim Keang! This was Day Two first bird at 7.02am.

When the light was better, we went into the trail. Alas, the shortwing was not around and we left Hemmant Trail empty-handed.

After agreeing among ourselves that the possibility of seeing new species up at Fraser’s Hill was limited, we decided again to visit the “New Road”. In front of the Tamil school, just before the start of the road, we’d have our Yellow-vented Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Red-rumped Swallow and White-rumped Munia too. We walked downwards for about 1.5km and returned with seven species including the Red-headed Trogon, Buff-necked and Maroon Woodpeckers, Black-thighed Falconet, Drongo Cuckoo, Streaked Wren Babbler and a Large Hawk Cuckoo being chased by a Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo.

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Going down the “New Road”

Last ditch effort on reaching the top had us walking towards the Town Centre, where the race will end. The golf course in front of the Paddock gave us scoped views of Paddyfield Pipit while Barn Swallow and Brown Shrike also put in a late display for us. With some time left, we visited Singapore House, hoping to find the Blue Whistling Thrush. It was not around. We also heard a forktail along the stream but it refused to show itself. All was not lost however as finally, a Blue Nuthatch decided to show itself at 11.02am, followed by an easy Lesser Shortwing which decided to be very confiding by appearing very close to the road. This last species of the race, and our 81st species, made up for the missing shortwing we tried that same morning at Hemmant Trail. It needs to be put on record too that another Streaked Wren Babbler (we had that bird earlier) decided that it needs to be seen too by standing on an exposed branch and started singing for a full 3 to 4 minutes, taunting the three of us who were camera-less!

The Piculets were crowned champions in the Advanced Category when the results were announced. It would be nice to include the number of species seen by the winning teams in the announcement.


It was a short but fun few days of birding for all of us in Fraser’s Hill. Because of the new ruling, there was much, much walking done. Thoroughly good exercise and if the “Health” apps is a reliable apps that can be relied on, we walked a staggering 47,540 steps over the two race days. This is equivalent to about 36 kilometres of walking!

Thanks and appreciation are in order to the organisers, Pahang Tourism, Malaysian Nature Society, Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation and all who were involved for all the hospitality, care and friendship.

Till the next race!

Alfred Chia

4 April 2018

31st Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2018 – Team Piculets

# Species                              Location         Remarks
1 Pacific Swallow               Town Centre 31-Mar
2 White-bellied (Glossy) Swiftlet
3 Large-billed Crow           Golf Course
4 Long-tailed Sibia
5 House Swift
6 Little Cuckoo Dove
7 Oriental Magpie Robin
8 Silver-eared Mesia
9 Common Tailorbird      Town Centre
10 Mountain Fulvetta      Golf Course
11 Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo
12 Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush
13 Large Niltava
14 Mountain Bulbul        Hemmant Trail
15 Buff-bellied Flowerpecker
16 Fire-tufted Barbet
17 Blyth’s Shrike-babbler
18 Golden Babbler
19 Streaked Spiderhunter
20 Rufous-browed Flycatcher
21 Blue-winged Minla
22 Black-throated Sunbird
23 Little Pied Flycatcher
24 Black-browed Barbet Bishop’s Trail
25 Orange-bellied Leafbird
26 Greater Yellownape Lady Maxwell Road
27 Long-tailed Broadbill
28 Buff-breasted Babbler
29 Green Magpie
30 Mountain Tailorbird
31 White-throated Fantail
32 Black-crested Bulbul      Road leading to New Road
33 Yellow-vented Bulbul
34 Verditer Flycatcher        New Road
35 Blue-winged Leafbird
36 Blue-eared Barbet
37 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
38 Grey-chinned Minivet
39 Asian Brown Flycatcher
40 Mountain Imperial Pigeon
41 Little Spiderhunter
42 White-bellied Erpornis
43 Yellow-bellied Warbler
44 White-rumped Shama
45 Sultan Tit
46 Everett’s White-eye
47 Mugimaki Flycatcher
48 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
49 Lesser Green Leafbird
50 Black-and-yellow Broadbill
51 Asian Fairy Bluebird
52 Oriental Honey Buzzard
53 Brown Barbet
54 Pin-striped Tit-babbler
55 Dark-necked Tailorbird
56 Grey-breasted Spiderhunter
57 Grey-throated Babbler
58 Ochraceous Bulbul
59 Silver-breasted Broadbill
60 Yellow-browed Warbler
61 Yellow-bellied Prinia            In front of Tamil School
62 Orange-headed Thrush       Lady Maxwell Road 1-Apr
63 Black-and-crimson Oriole   Road to Glen Bungalow
64 Black-eared Shrike-babbler
65 Lesser Yellownape
66 Stripe-throated Bulbul        Glen Bungalow
67 Red-headed Trogon             New Road
68 Buff-necked Woodpecker
69 Maroon Woodpecker
70 Black-thighed Falconet
71 Asian Drongo Cuckoo
72 Streaked Wren Babbler
73 Large Hawk Cuckoo
74 Red-rumped Swallow        In front of Tamil School
75 White-rumped Munia
76 Malaysian Cuckooshrike Road to Glen Bungalow
77 Barn Swallow Golf Course
78 Paddyfield Pipit
79 Brown Shrike
80 Blue Nuthatch                  Road to Singapore House
81 Lesser Shortwing

Birds are recorded in order of seen sequence


33rd Singapore Bird Race (2017) – Arbitrator’s Report


Participants of the 33rd Singapore Bird Race

The 33rd Singapore Bird Race, held from 7-8 October 2017, saw the participation of 27 teams across three categories. The 20-hour ‘Marathon’ category attracted 4 teams, the 5-hour ‘Sprint’ category 11 teams and the ‘Photography’ category 12 teams.

Marathon Category – Winning Teams

Scouring the island from the Marina Bay to the Southern Ridges to Bukit Timah and Kranji-Sungei Buloh areas, the Weekend Birders (Silas Tay & Jerold Tan) topped the Marathon category with 101 species. The Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrushes (Sutari Supari, Ali Jaafar, P Pandian & Soh Lay Bee) came in second with 89 species. Teams ChonkChonkChonk (Keita Sin, Sandra Chia & Geraldine Lee) and ChongChongChong (Justin Nai, Ng Shao Hua, Teo Hui Min & Wong Chee Weng) tied for third place with 85 species. Alas, all 4 teams in the Marathon category walked away with prizes! Congrats.

Sprint Category – Winning Teams

To minimise time spent travelling, most of the Sprint teams limited themselves to the Kranji-Sungei  Buloh areas. In this relatively small area, Team Darters (Alfred Chia, Desmond Lee, Lim Kim Keang & Albert Low) turned in an amazing 75 species to top the Sprint category. The Falconets (Benjamin Lee, Chung Yi Fei, Chua Chong Tzeh & Thereis Choo) came in second with 68 species. The team JSP (Simon Siow, Alyce Ang, Fance Chua & Jimmy Lee) was a close third with 66 species. Well done.

Photography Category – Winning Teams

The Horseshoe Crabs (Goh Cheng Teng & Lester Tan) topped the Photography category with 59 species caught on camera. The team Gotcha (Michael Toh, Jane Rogers & Doreen Ang) came in second with 42 species. Right behind them was TnT (Tay Sia Ping, Ting Tuan Eng & Gan Lee Hsia) at third with 41 species photographed. Great work.

With several teams having photographed 40-odd species according to their log sheets, the fight for second and third place in the photography category was a tight one. In the end, it boiled down to things such as ensuring the photos for all species listed were submitted, submitting the photos in readable format (i.e. jpg and not raw, which we couldn’t read) and how closely the logged name matched the checklist name, etc. Future teams please note!

Race highlights

All teams combined, a total of 150 species were recorded. Among these, 3 species are listed as rare. They are the Lesser Adjutant at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 7 October at 6:11pm (an excellent record!); Little Grebe at Lorong Halus Wetlands on 8 Oct – both species were recorded by the Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrushes; and the Blue-eared Kingfisher at Kranji Marshes on 8 Oct recorded by various teams.

Other interesting species included the Greater Sand Plover at SBWR on 7 Oct, Ruddy-breasted Crake at Satay by the Bay on 7 Oct, and the globally threatened Straw-headed Bulbul at Bukit Batok Nature Park on 7 Oct, and at SBWR and Hindhede Park on 8 Oct. Others on 8 Oct: Black-capped Kingfisher at Lorong Halus; Chinese Sparrowhawk and Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot at Kranji Marshes; Dark-sided Flycatcher and Slaty-breasted Rail at SBWR; Cinnamon Bittern at Neo Tiew Lane 3; Violet Cuckoo and Red-crowned Barbet at the Central Catchment Forests; Rusty-breasted Cuckoo at Neo Tiew area; Little Ringed Plover at Lim Chu Kang; Great-billed Heron at Seletar Dam; Blue-rumped Parrot at BTNR and Central Catchment Forests; Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Black-crested and Asian Red-eyed Bulbuls at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

A shout-out to fellow arbitrators Kenneth Kee, Morten Strange, See Toh Yew Wai and Francis Yap for generating the results so quickly.

Tan Gim Cheong
Chief Arbitrator, 33rd Singapore Bird Race

Bird Race Results

Position Marathon Category Score
1st Weekend Birders 101
2nd Malay Pot-bellied Laughingthrush 90
3rd ChonkChonkChonk & ChongChongChong 85
Position Sprint Category Score
1st Team Darters 75
2nd Falconets 68
3rd JSP 66
4th Jiak Hong Birders 61
5th Wings 58
6th Friends of Buloh 58
7th The Jiao Langs 53
8th Phalaropians 52
9th Robin’s Magpies 46
10th Bathawk, Robin & Penguin 37
11th Serendipity 33
Position Photography Category Score
1st Horshoe Crabs 59
2nd Gotcha 42
3rd T&T 41
4th Avian Pixels 40
5th JAWsome 40
6th The 3 Roosters 37
7th MNSJ Eagle 36
8th See & Shoot 33
9th The Trio 32
10th Wings of Johor 28
11th OK:-) 5
12th Kingfisher Blues